Friday, July 30, 2010

Give it to GOD, again

"Trust in the Lord, with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5

So often things are simply beyond our control. We cannot do one thing about it. Getting rid of itgetting over itgetting control of itmaking a new plangetting an new perspective or getting it done may not work as a solution. There is nothing to do BUT give it totally to God, and trust that in His wisdom it will work to His glory. Giving it to him is certainly not a last resort, but the first resort..again! :)

Certainly, doing so is easier said than done. It is a skill, that deserves practice and constant assurance that you have still left it there. God's hands are more capable than ours, and dont forget that really we know too little of the whole story to make the proper decisions anyways!

Again, only time with Him on a constant basis can ensure that your heart is fully surrendered to His bidding. Only constant reminding via scriptures of His promises, His truths and His faithfulness can keep our little forgetful brains focused in that direction.

There is true peace waiting, for those hearts that allow Him to bear the burden of your heart, soul, mind and body. Never underestimate Him, and His ability to give you peace beyond understanding...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Welcome ifellowshippers..thanks so much for your encouragement


Perspective has so much to do with the things we identify as stressful. And, we misuse alot of our resources because we have the wrong perspective on things. Being able to put things in their place, so to speak, can go a long way to our being able let things go and let God take control of them.

Changing how you see people, how you view your resources, how you see your work, how you view the time you have with your kids, how you see blessings or suffering in your life ..all can enable or deter you from being able to find peace in those areas.

The only way we can ensure that our perspective is such that peace is the result, is when our perspective is based on truth. That can only be found in our daily interactions with the Truth Giver and His word. Our eyes will only see with wisdom, if we learn from the Teacher the things of eternity as they lie in contrast to those "light and momentary" things.

Daily time with God is essential for having the right perspective on the world and situations around us.

If you dont already, make daily time for God and ask for His eternal perspective for your life. It will not only decrease your stress, but more importantly, therein lies the only true peace.

When it comes to your Stress List ..are there things on there that could use a different perspective? Are you stuck at home with a sick kid...or do you have a great excuse to sit on the couch and read to your little one? Do you have the pay the bills...or are you blessed to have a job and finances to cover it? Are you "stressed out", or misusing your resources somehow?

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Can a change in perspective help your Stress List today? Do tell!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Making Plans

In the spirit of getting a new one point I had my calendar in my SLJ but that system wasnt working as well as I would have liked. So, I had to get another plan! :)

Here is what I have done with my board ..its been great to have all of my stuff in one place.

One thing I have found helpful is that I have put a sticky note on my board ..its for those grocery or household items that I think of we need next grocery trip. I write on there, and then just grab that note off the board when its time to go to the store.I had that in my SLJ but it was getting lost, and I found it a pain to have to get the book out to write it down in there. Then, I didnt remember to grab it when I went shopping. I like this better.

Also, I have written down a verse of the week. We are working on "Do everything without complaining or arguing." Philippians 2:14 ..its nice to have it right there to remind me of the truth, as well as to review it with the kids.

The headings I have on my note side are: Daily (drink water, one load of laundry, Bible study, etc.), Weekly (scour bathrooms, elliptical x3, catch up budget), Honey Please Do, Memory Verse, Prayers, and To Do.

Some of things I have on my calendar are meals planned for each day, birthdays/anniversaries, playgroup activities, school activities, daily prayer focus (each day of the week has a different family member), and deadlines.

I use different colors because I am very visual, so having it designated that way is very helpful. It helps remember things, and I find it less cluttered.

Everyone would not find this helpful, but I do. Whatever works for you, that is what you should do!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yay for Me Wednesday!

Okay, I am not an expert at this whole carnival thing (for those of you who do that sort of thing!) but whether you do that or just want to leave a comment ...

I want to "Yay for Me!" about the GOOD mom moments! I know I tend to dwell on the bad mom moments WAY more than than the good ones!

I mean, be honest many times do you do something that you are proud of, but really you are the only one who is impressed?! Well, we will "YAY!" with you ..soo...

I will start us off!

* I have already cuddled with my 3 year old this morning! Yay me!
* I remembered to do YAY ME WEDNESDAY! ...Yay Me!
* I woke up to a clean kitchen because I cleaned it last night ...YAY ME!
* I have kept my house semi-decluttered, which is a few steps above trashed, now for a whole week! ...Yay Me!
* I made 3 phone calls I was putting off last night ...Yay Me!
* I taught my three old his first chore ..feeding the pets...Yay Me!
* I have been doing my bible study and daily bible reading for a week solid! ..yay me!

Celebrate with me ..what are you proud of?!
If you want to participate in the carnival, please post about your "yay for me!" and link back to LPLS..if not then please leave a comment here!

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Get a new PLAN!

As a planner, and a person who really appreciates a well ordered system. I find myself applying them any where and any time I can. I love to see a system work well for me, and even better when it can translate to other people...clearly :)

I have found that often, my Stress List is comprised of things that require some kind of system in order to get it under control, get it done or even to get rid of it!  It may be a system to keep my housework broken down into easy to get done assignments for myself, a plan for getting laundry done, a system to store my coupons or a way to manage my finances.  All of these things require a plan of some kind, a way to do it that I find helps me get my goals met.

The thing is, that since every system or plan requires our resources (time, energy, effort, finances, etc.) and since our resources are dynamic from day to day ...then, often we have to be willing to adjust the way we do things to meet what resources we have to give to that plan or system.

Meaning, you can have the best plan in the world ...if you dont have what it takes to fulfill that plan, then it aint so great!

Sometimes, we have plans that work great given one set of resources but it doesnt pan out when our resources shift. Perfect example:  when I had no children, I had a beautiful system for keeping my home decluttered, deep cleaned, picked up and ordered all the time or with little effort. NOW, that system is a laughable since I have three boys who make any effort at "decluttering" a joke! :)

Sometimes we let things stress us out because we insist that a plan works for us, and we keep doing things in a less-than-effective way. Accepting that a plan may not work any more, and developing a new one may be a great way to reduce some stress. Or, accepting that someone ELSE's plan may not work for us! How many times has this been a source of guilt and stress for me?! ...alot. The same plan doesnt work for everyone and even your best plan may not always work for you.

Amy, from Raising Arrows is a homeschooler of "many children", and has some great ideas along these lines which she shares on her blog. I loved her statement she made regarding a schooling system that she had raved about at one point:

"I wanted to say one thing here because I used to be one of those people who lamented the fact that I NEVER seemed to find something that worked well enough to stick with it for a hundred years. It is okay to change things. It is okay to admit something you raved about it doesn’t work anymore. It is okay to search for a solution that does work."

Its hard to give up on a great plan, but if it doesnt work then its creating stress and taking away your ability to use your resources effectively.

What things on your Stress List could use a system revamp? 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thanks everyone!

It seems the comment problems have resolved themselves..thanks for everyone's input and help!

Get OVER it!

 This was originally posted June 2008 ..I didnt edit this one too much..yay me!

I know, it sounds harsh.

I have to say though, this one I think can help us with a good majority of the stresses we have in our day and our life.

Dont get me wrong. There are plenty of things that we simply cant let go, or deny ourselves right to feel about. Death of a loved one, heart sick issues, marriage relationships, abusive situations..these cant be "gotten over".

But, there are plenty of things that we can really tell ourselves to move pass, give up, get over.

You know what I am talking about. We girls are the worst about mulling over, creating mountains out of mole hills, enlarging, sharing, fretting, building up our emotions by feeding the stress til it takes over our minds and spirits.

Its a girl thing, but not necessarily a good one.

Think about how much stress you can free yourself of by simply telling yourself on the onset, that you simply must let it go.

This strategy doesnt work for those things that need to be done. You cant get over laundry, doing dishes, or grocery shopping. But, you can get over the socks he left on the floor, the words someone said, the worry or fretting over something you cant control, the fact that someone is doing something a different way than you would, etc.

This is a DECISION. You have to decide you will let it go. You decide what you allow to stress you out, work you up, make you "crazy" have to decide to not let it.

You will feel better. I promise.

Consider too, when you allow yourself to get stressed about anything it effects others whether it be the kids, the husband, the best friend, the guy at the grocery store, or the customer service guy on the phone. Our stress levels dont just effect us. We owe it to ALL of those people to let go of stuff when we can :)

Need a little extra help to do that?

Pray. Pray for the ability to do so. Pray for peace. Pray for forgiveness. Pray for patience. Pray for mercy. Pray for a different perspective. Pray for him instead of getting mad about his socks. Pray her instead of thinking about her careless words.

Wow. Courtney the 2008 edition was a little harsh. 
She is right though, I gotta work on that..what about you?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Out of the House

Apparently, getting out of the house is a stressor for me because we have been sharing alot of getting "out of the house" tips lately :)

A friend shared another idea with me this week that I have implemented in my house. So far, it is working great for us and so I had to share of course :)

You know that I am in love with my Car Bucket right now.  This idea adds to the effectiveness of the CB and the ease of getting everything I need to head out the door...

It is simple really, but she just has "grab and go" bags already made up and ready to go a moments notice. She has a Swimming Bag, which is the permanent home for the beach towels, swim suits, sunscreen, flip flops, sun hats, sand toys, etc.  She has a Quiet Bag, which is stocked with snacks and quiet activities that would be appropriate for church or the doctors office. She has a Messy Bag, with wet wipes and an extra outfit for everyone in the family ..this one stays in the car.

These bags are always packed and ready for their next adventure, and are hanging where she can grab them when needed.

For me, I grab my Swimming Bag and diaper bag and throw them in the Car Bucket. We are set to go to the pool or beach and it took only a second to put together. I have a set of hooks in my laundry room, this is where my bags are hanging right now. I can keep them stocked and ready to go the easiest and fastest from that location.

I love this idea, because it means I dont have either pack or unpack any of these bags. I dont have to empty the Swimming Bag ...just take out the wet towels and suits, wash them and return them to their bag. No trying to locate the sunscreen or waterpark pass when we are ready to go ...its already in the bag where we left it the last time we used it. Makes for fun spontaneous trips out the door, with less stress making it happen!

Remember, any area you can make a bit less stressful means you are taking resources
back to use towards what God has planned for you today! :)

posted proudly to: We are That Family..Works for Me Wednesday!

Get CONTROL of it!

This Stress Strategy applies to alot of processes that cause me stress ...its about looking at areas of my life that are causing me stress and realizing that the reason that they are doing so is because they need better control.

Remember, stress happens when we are off balance with what we need to do and what we have to do it. If we have areas that requiring more than its fair share of resource, then we need to get it under control.

Some areas that need this strategy can applied are laundry, weight/health,  finances/spending, lack of routine, clutter in the car,  behavioral issues with the kids ...if you notice an area keeps coming up on your Stress List, it may need better CONTROL!

Getting things under control may require a new plan, a new perspective, a new system, advice from a trusted friend, a tip from a helpful source or simply being more purposeful towards that area. 

Getting control, as a strategy for relieving stress, often requires a combination of several Stress Strategies. It may require a combo of getting control AND getting it done. I may be helpful to combine getting control with getting a new plan.

I keep thinking that I should do away with this stress strategy, but really ..bringing an area into a place where it is more manageable is a valid strategy in my book! :)

Can you think of an area or two that could require the need to bring it under better control
in order to use your resources better?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Five Minutes at a Time

In the spirit of getting it done, I wanted to share what I have been doing as of late when I am feeling stressed by my house!

You guys know I love my timer - I have talked about how we can use very short increments of time to get alot done.

One thing I have done lately is refine the use of those short increments. I also have been sucking every second out of those 15-30 minutes stretches that happen on occasion!

One key to using those little short stints well, is knowing what is causing the most stress when they become available. My mental or written Stress List helps that. When I have a free 5 minutes, I think to that list and what is causing me the most stress that I can work on getting done in the time I have.

One way I have applied that to myself lately, is that I realize I have a few minutes ...big boys are playing quietly in their bedroom AND baby is asleep, I have 20 minutes or so! I considered what is stressing me the most right now ..and hands down it was my house. Everything was cluttered, bathrooms needed cleaned, laundry put away...all of it. So, I set my timer for 5 minutes, my mindset on perfection not being necessary, grabbed my lysol wipes and a broom and got to work!

Twenty minutes later I had decluttered and swept the upstairs hallway, wiped down the boys bathroom, decluttered my bedroom and started working on the laundry.  None of those areas were done to perfection, but I was trying to remind myself to think of it as "5 minutes more done" rather than half-way completed :)

Miraculously, all was still quiet and I had another 20 minutes to work on stuff ...the entry way, more laundry, the dining room table and my bathroom.  I was sweating when it was all said and done but I felt a million times better.

Your house may not be at the top of your Stress List may be paying bills or making a phone call, it may be running an errand or fillling in the holes in the walls in the hallway. Whatever is stressing you out, try to put 5 minutes towards getting it taken care of. It will help..I promise!

Anyone got any ta-da's to share? What did you get done today?!

Get it DONE!

Most of the things on my Stress List can be taken care of by simply taking care of business, just doing it, just getting it done.

There are things that we cant get rid of, or get better control of, or pray away (unfortunately) ..they just need to be completed. Grocery shopping, cleaning house, putting the clothes away, paying the bill, cleaning the toilet ..just do it already :)

I have found that often, I put more resources into putting it off and stressing over it than I would if I just use the resources (time, energy, effort) and take care of it.

How many things on your list of stresses are the result of you putting it off and off? If you keep a Stress List three days in a row and find that the same things keep showing up, them take care of that stuff if at all possible. Dont put it off anymore. No sense in putting mental and emotional resources into something that probably will take less resources just to get taken care of. 

Also, consider that sometimes just doing something about those areas that cause us stress, is in itself stress relieving. Instead of fretting over needing to do something, use that energy to make a step in the right direction and you may be surprised with how much energy you gain from even that little bit!

... not much more to say about that one. This must be some kind of record :)

"For the Kingdom of God is not matter of talk but of power." 2 Cor 4:20

What is on your stress list that needs doing?

Friday, July 23, 2010

a little tip: Carrying Cash

I have a little tip for you "Dave Ramsey" gals ... for those of you who are good and do monthly cash for certain parts of your budget (like I do on occasion..I need to work on this!) I found a solution to the worn out envelopes that I am always trying to keep up with in my purse or diaper bag.

It doubles as a high-tech theft deterrent device ...hee hee.

I noticed that Target has the coupon holders for $1 right now. They are perfect for categorizing the cash and keeping it together and organized. It is also really easy to steal from another "envelope" to cover something in another category. It also gave me a more orderly place to put my receipts.

Whatcha think?

Get Rid of It!

This is one of my FAVORITE Stress Less Strategies!  I find it quite applicable to many areas of my Stress List. It applies to my stuff, my schedule, unhealthy relationships, discouraging thoughts, time wasters, books I shouldnt read, food I shouldnt eat ...see?

I have always found such liberation in letting go of things that arent beneficial for me or my family. Since really focusing on how certain things really affect the stress levels of myself, my husband or my children I have used this strategy ALOT!

Some things I have gotten rid of over the past few years ...clothes, shoes, kids clothes, responsibilities, monthly bills (i.e., Netflix and the like, not the electricity :), rugs that wouldnt lay flat and always needing vacuumed, paperwork, broken crayons, cleaning supplies, tupperware without lids, pots/pans that were scratched, dvd/cd's we didnt watch (or shouldnt),  decorating stuff, Christmas decorations, books I had already read ...I use this strategy alot.

Getting rid of stuff is the easiest  for me are some rules I go by when it comes to getting rid of physical things...

* if you dont LOVE it, or NEED it..then get rid of it!

This applies to every area of your home from closets, kids closets, kids toys, living room furniture, kitchen gadgets, clothes in closet, organizing aids in the house, to backyard toys and smelly good stuff in the bathroom.

* If you have lots of something..then get rid of some of it!

Looking around the house you can find LOTS of areas to apply this. Its amazing how things collect and you buy when you have some of it already because you have so much you cant see what you have!
Get HONEST about whether you need so many of of a may be surprised what your answer may be!

* If you cant remember WHY something is sentimental..then get rid of it.

How often do we hold on to stuff because so-and-so gave it to us? Obviously there are exceptions to this rule. Generally, if someone spent time making something or they have alot of attachment to my having it, I hold onto it. But, I couldnt tell you most if any of the gifts I have given to anyone in the last 5 years if I gave you something, and its causing you stress..GET RID OF IT!

* If its broken or doesnt work..GET RID OF IT!

Adrian and I often disagree in this area. He wants to put it aside to fix it later. Some stuff we do that with, but I have gotten to the point that if I didnt LOVE it or USE it in the first place, it gets trashed.

*If you havent worn it, used it, or played with it in the last 6 months...GET RID OF IT!

This is a GREAT rule. I use it ALL the time. I use it especially in my closet and my kitchen. These are two areas where things seem to multiply unfettered.

* If you feel bad about throwing it away..GIVE IT AWAY

I have found that there are some things that I dont want any more, but that I cant just throw away. Its much easier for me to pass it on to someone who could use it (less guilt).
Getting rid of the some things in our life that arent as easy as packing it up to the Goodwill (i.e., thoughts, relationships, etc). But, the benefits are just as freeing if you find a way to get that stressor out of your life.

Sometimes, you dont have a choice about whether to get rid of something or not (like laundry..blech!)..sometimes you have to apply a different strategy to that stressor. We will look at Get it under Control next! 

What can you Get Rid Of this week?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Action Plan: Stress Less Strategies

Starting with your Stress List, you can get a plan of action by applying some possible strategies to each of the items on your list.

These are some strategies that I use, literally, every day. I use them consciously and unconsciously, depending on what I am stressed about. For me, getting these concepts in my head has helped me to feel more in control of those areas where I can determine how I react and deal.

To each item on your list apply one of these plans ... get RID of it, get CONTROL of it, get it DONE, get OVER it,  get a new PLAN, get a new PERSPECTIVE and give it to GOD, again.

We will go in detail for each one over the next couple of weeks, but for now ...

Get RID of it, that one is pretty clear but its a great one! So often stuff makes us feel stressed. Whether its because we have too much of something, we dont have room for it, it makes us feel guilty for some reason (clothes that dont fit in your closet), its old and broken, its dirty or worn out. Getting rid of stuff is SO freeing! And, less stuff means less to stress over!

One other thing you can apply this to, is your schedule. If there are things there that are stressing you get rid of it from your schedule. Too much time away from home? Might need to look at what you can get rid of!

Get CONTROL of it. I apply this one specifically to my laundry! I hate laundry. It stresses me out. But I cant get rid of it. So, it must be dealt with it. 

Get it DONE. This applies to a good portion of the things on my daily Stress List.  The grocery shopping, the bill paying ..its all stuff that has to just get done.  How often are misused resources, and thus stress, caused by simply putting things off? Do it.

Get OVER it.You know exactly what I mean girls. There are alot of things we stress over that we really neednt stress over. It wastes our resources a good portion of the time when we stress and fret over things that cant be changed or arent worth the resources we are putting into them.

This applies when we allow ourselves to get stressed over things that people say or do that irritate or upset us. We tend to ponder, discuss, ponder, sulk, ponder and create MORE stress for ourselves with the pondering if you can, get over it sista.

Get a new PLAN. Sometimes we have dealt with a stressor and it comes back. It may be a sign that we need to handle it differently. Did you TRY to get control of the laundry but you still were overwhelmed by it? Then maybe try getting rid of some of it by decreasing the number of outfits your kids have at their disposal. Did you try putting the dog food up where the 18 month old couldnt reach it (you thought) but they found it anyways? Get a new plan. Reorder. Reorganize. Reprioritize.

Get a new PERSPECTIVE. This one could go hand in hand with get over it but a little unique in that it asks for a different view point. Its about changing your attitude, you have a ton to do today but one of the kids are sick and wont let you put them down but, you get a new perspective and realize that you have a good excuse to sit and read books to your kids all day and let the laundry go!

Then, Give it GOD, again. Thing is, there is plenty of things that cause us stress that we can do nothing about. We can continue allowing those things to sap energy from our spirits, or give them to someone who can handle it.

Remember to, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." I Peter 5:7 (NLT)

Do any of these particularly appeal to you? Do any of them strike you as applicable to 
your Stress List today?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yay for Me Wednesday!

Okay, I am not an expert at this whole carnival thing (for those of you who do that sort of thing!) but whether you do that or just want to leave a comment ...

I want to "Yay for Me!" about the GOOD mom moments! I know I tend to dwell on the bad mom moments WAY more than than the good ones!

I mean, be honest many times do you do something that you are proud of, but really you are the only one who is impressed?! Well, we will "YAY!" with you ..soo...

I will start us off!

* The other day I remembered the Moby, the reusable bags AND the coupons when I went to the grocery store! ..yay me!
* My kids have had a veggie with (almost) every meal this week! ...yay me!
* I have been using my car bucket and my car is CLEAN right now and has been for a whole week! ...yay me!
* I FINALLY hung my pictures that have been sitting in my dining room for way too long ..yay me!
* I took out cash this month like a good little Dave Ramsey follower...yay me!
* I did at least one load of laundry every day this week ...yay me!
* I made my kids turn off the tv first thing this morning and they havent had it on all day...yay me!
* I read my bible AND did my bible study today ...yay me!

I am celebrating those GOOD moments that get lost in all the guilt and pressure I put on myself sometimes ...YAY ME!

Celebrate with me ..what are you proud of?!

If you want to participate in the carnival, please post about your "yay for me!" and link back to LPLS..if not then please leave a comment here!

My Stress List

I referenced my Stress List in the post about my Stress Less Journal last week. I wrote about it while ago, but like so many of the ideas I had a couple of years ago I have refined it a bit and can explain it in less words now :)

The Stress List is something that I use to purposefully identify the areas of stress in my own life. Because I noted that I had stress, I needed to identify where it was coming from. Writing it down helped me see what was up, and put a name to my 1000 little things that added up to a general overall feeling of being overwhelmed. It really works for me!

Even before that, though, I had to note what my stress felt like. I found that for me, stress was a tightness in my chest, a quesiness in my stomach, tight shoulders and a general sense of "yuck". I still do sometimes. I have learned the beginning of that feeling, and dont let it get to the point that I am totally overwhelmed very often..that is because I know what it feels like. I note it on purpose.

My Stress List is something that I make as a way to identify what is causing that feeling.  When I first started really focusing on what was causing my general feeling of stressed out, I did this on a very regular/daily basis.  Now that I am very familiar with what makes me feel that way, I dont have to inventory it quite as often. But, when I am feeling overwhelmed it is the first thing I do.

I put everything that is causing me stress ..from the dishes needing washed, to the budget needing caught up. I may be fretting over the relationship between two people I love, or that I am behind on my weekly Bible study. I may need to pay a bill, or make a grocery list.  I may be feeling overweight, or like the closet in the kids room is a mess.  I may be frustrated that their is mold in the shower, or that my husband and I havent gone on a date in a year.  I may be heart heavy that a friend is dying, or need to schedule a check up for my kids.

Whatever is weighing on me, I note it. No matter how small, or insignificant. No matter how huge or obvious. Sometimes I write it down, sometimes I dont.

Only when I can see what I am dealing with, can I attack it with gusto. Only then can I give it to God as the first step in getting rid of my stresses, one at a time.

I know God doesnt probably worry too much about my feeling fat, but he does love that I bring that feeling to him and ask him to rid me of it or give me the strength to do something about it.

 THEN, I can apply some Stress Strategies to the list!  We will look at some strategies that will help knock out those stresses a little bit a time ... get rid of it, get over it, get it done, get a new plan, get a new perspective, get control of it ..and then give it to God, again.

What is on your stress list today? No matter how small ....

Monday, July 19, 2010

What is Worthy?

I really would like to focus on worthy uses of our resources this week, and to look at some ways of coping with the stresses we carry with us so much! ...this post was orginally posted in July of 2009. It is edited for length
The idea that I have all that I need to live the life I feel called to, is both encouraging and a bit discouraging at the same time. It is encouraging because I know that God will provide what I need, and discouraging because I know he already has and I often still feel overspent.

Its all a matter of how we use our resources. Our resources are everything that has been given to us that we can use to accomplish his tasks in our lives. We have our time, energy (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.), homes, finances ..everything we can claim as ours in some way.

The Spirit, put in us to accomplish His will, requires our physical resources to accomplish His spiritual purposes for us.

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" Romans 14:17
So, we have to make sure that we are using our resources effectively. Not only because those resources need to freed up to be used by the Spirit, but also because the use and misuse of those resources leads to varying degrees of stress in our lives.

Use of resources, because of their limited supply, causes a degree of stress. Misusing those resources causes greater stress, and even more so when our resources are promised to the Father and we dont fulfill our end of the bargain.

We need to determine what is worthy of our resources, and what is unworthy of our resources (and therefore the stress that goes with the use of those resources).

Worthy uses of our resources are things that work towards the Kingdom for us or someone else in some way. They also give a degree of resources back, as we gain benefit from doing God's work on a daily basis.

Unworthy uses of our resources, are things that do not benefit the Kingdom. They do not give us resources to continue doing God's work further, they take rather than give.

For example, laundry is something that uses our daily resources. It is part of our home that requires time, energy and effort. It is worthy, because it is part of the godly home I am creating for my family. It gives resources back, when my family has what they need to get dressed in the morning.

Comparisons, though, are not worthy. The act of mentally comparing myself to others takes mental and emotional energy. It pulls for those resources, and with no benefit to the Kingdom or to my walk with God.

We have to be on constant alert as to the worthiness of how we use our resources, and where we allow our stresses to lie. By questioning the worthiness of those things we fret over and give to, we can be more aware of those things that simply need to be let go, or gotten over.

Note where your resources are going ...hint: if you note where your stress is, you will have a good idea of where your resources are going. Is it worthy?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Project Life Is Available!

I just found that Project Life is available again!

You WANT this, trust me! If you want to do me a favor, follow this link to Project Life to get it from I found that the PL website sends you to the same place :) Also, is giving free shipping for this product!

I noticed, also that the price went up to $49.99 ..a supply and demand thing I guess! She cant keep the things on the shelf :)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fearful Thoughts

I dont know if it is hormones or what, but I have been really fighting anxiety related to fear as of late.

I woke up yesterday morning and while I drank my coffee I was doing some blog surfing. I stumbled upon the blog of a mom who had lost a child, and read her heartbreaking story at six in the morning.

It messed up my whole day. I teared up, my stomach knotted up, I was grumpy and ill all day long. I knew the reason, and I still had a hard time shaking it.

Mix that story with several other I have heard as of late (a couple losing their 10 week old to SIDS, a mom who was 5 months pregnant losing her child, and a friend miscarrying her little one the day after she told all of us), my heart was gripped in fear.

I know that much of my fear comes not from an event that could take place, but the overwhelming loss that would follow.  Since losing my brother to the war in Iraq, I know how loss feels. My body, mind and spirit reacts to the very idea of it happening again, or being even worse the next time.

All day, my chest was tight and my heart unsettled.  I was stressed, to be sure.  I hugged by own 10 week old baby, and cuddled him more than usual. I got nothing accomplished  The boys and I did have some play time, and we finished our day with VBS but really heart was heavy.

So often, our stress levels can be directly linked to our state of mind and heart. Our hearts can stumble onto a thought that throws us into a state of panic, worry, anxiety or fretfulness and our effectiveness is shot.  I know mine was, and today I am still struggling with it.

On Facebook I asked for some verses to guide my heart away from such thoughts and worries, here are some of the responses...

"So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:6
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,  I will fear no evil,  for you are with me; your rod and your staff,  they comfort me."
Psalms 23:4

Some of my favorites ...

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalms 4:8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:6-9

 How powerfully our minds and hearts can affect us! 

The verse that I repeated the most yesterday was ...

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, 
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

I pray you have a day full of peaceful thoughts and precious memories :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Prayer for Today

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And, I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high deep is the love of Christ, 

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the 
fullness of God. "  Ephesians 3:16-19

May you feel strengthened today, full of the power that comes from having the Spirit of Christ in your inner being...amidst all the chaos of being a mom of littles or of bigs, amidst the laundry and menu planning, amidst the loud moments and the quiet ones, amidst heartache or joys of motherhood, amidst the day that is just beginning yet still has purpose in Christ!

" him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout ALL generations, for ever and ever ...Amen." vs. 20-21

What a peaceful thought ... :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Congrats Jen!

Congrats to Jen who won this weeks giveaway!

Jen said about this weeks giveaway ..." I want to put one in every room! =)"

Well, Jen can put one in at least one of them! You got a $20 credit to spend with Michelle at Uppercase Living!

You will have to come back and tell us what you decided on Jen!

One other thing ..I messed up and didnt realize that i set the drawing for the day AFTER the BOGO sale ended...ugh! I hate that, sorry Jen! And everyone else who was holding out for the drawing before they purchased something!

I hope you girls will go check out the site, they have great deals all the time! I cant WAIT for my order to come in!

Congrats Jen!

Tool Time: K12 Charter School

one last chance to enter to win our Uppercase Living giveaway today!
okay, I know that those of us who homeschool, do so for our own personal reasons. As personal as the reasons we do it, is the curriculum we use to teach our precious little ones at home.

Oh, how well I remember my mom spending nights, days and weeks planning our curriculum and writing lesson plans for all 6 of us she was schooling at home! I remember the excitement of getting new books, and learning what lessons were coming our way in the fall. We were excited about school!

Now that I am there, planning school for my 3 and 5 year olds, I am excited too....AND OVERWHELMED!

I am a bit lost in the world of curriculum, learning styles, subjects, books and the cost of all of it. Despite having been raised as a homeschool kid, I have alot to figure out.

It was with this mindset that I came across K12 Virtual Charter Schools.  Now, I want to say at this point that I hesitated to write this post because I know I havent actually used this product, and cant vouch for it 100% yet. But, I figured that by the time I could definitely say one way or another the school year will be half over and if this was something that may work for you, it would be too late for this school year. Maybe it will work for you!

But, from what I know now ...

* The K12 Virtual Charter School is an online public school, that you do at home
*The school provides accountability for me, and a curriculum that meets all state requirements for my child
*Someone else will be writing our lesson plans, and telling me exactly what I need to do in each subject
*It uses the K12 curriculum, an acclaimed program for public and home schools
*It is FREE

Using my tax dollars, which I pay regardless of our education choices, this program provides ALL of the curriculum and accompanying materials that are needed for this program. We just got 8 boxes of curriculum in the mail ...there are student books, teachers guides, reading books, award winning children's books, art supplies, science equipment, math manipulatives, dvd's, cd's , handwriting paper, flash cards ... the computer/printer hasnt arrived yet.

The online public school through K12 is not offered in every state, but is in many of them including South Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Virgina, Kansas and Georgia.  The program is free in these states. 

I have been reading through all this material, and I have to say I have teared up a couple of times realizing that I could have never afforded to provide him with all of this on our own. I am so excited for all the lessons he will learn using this great, quality curriculum. I am excited that someone else has provided me with great ideas and orderly presentation for each of the lessons he will learn.

One thing I have noted, for the sake of full disclosure ..this material is not taught from a Christian perspective. I have to say, though that I am actually looking forward to being able to teach perspectives that my child will surely experience in this life, while also teaching the importance of biblical authority. We will use the bible and this material side by side, and carefully discuss the areas where the two conflict.

This certainly will not be the answer for a good portion of homeschoolers, for understandable reasons (accountability, less flexibility in curriculum choice, standardized testing). For now, we are going to try it and see how it works out for us. Worst case scenario, it is awful and I hate it ...if so, it was free and at least I will have a better idea of what I want from that point forward!

Have you used the k12 curriculum and/or the virtual charter schools in their program? Please share your thoughts, good, bad or ugly..wait, not ugly. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Update: My Car Bucket

I have been using my own Car Bucket and wanted to give you an update ...I am LOVING it!

Ashley's idea for using a canvas bin to cart things from car to house, and to keep the mini-van picked up is working great for us!

I found this great bin with wheels at Target for $14.99 is perfect for us, because the boys can help me cart it back and forth.

Some things I have noted since using it myself...

* Ashley is right gotta empty it as soon as you get in the door at home. If not, it will not be ready to take it with you next time out the door

* When it is just me and the boys, it sits in the passenger seat so it is easiest to put stuff in and take stuff out, like snacks for the kids or my wallet for getting cash from the ATM

* It has helped 100% in collecting all the trash that we seem to collect in the van. That really is most of the mess we had in there. Now, ALL of it goes in the CB and I just empty it out as soon as we get in the house

* I found a couple of water bottles at Target for $1. The are for the boys to carry to the car, and stay in the CB when we are at home. They arent for home use, in other words.  That works for us.

Anyways, just thought I would share...thanks again Ashley for sharing your idea!

Have you used the Car Bucket idea in your own life? Tell us about it! 

Learning Time ..Kids' Resources

Dont forget to enter to win our Uppercase Living credit!

We cant forget that while we are learning ourselves to use our resources well, that we need to be teaching our children the same thing.

While the Steeds are enjoying the summer, we are ending up with lots of free time.   For our family full of little ones, that equals loss of routine, lack of purpose and more time than I would like to admit in front of cartoons!  We have had quite a few discipline issues that I directly relate to boredom, plain and simple.

A friend of mine has initiated "Learning Time" in her home, and we have latched on to the idea for the sake of everyone in our house. It has been a wonderful time to set aside on a daily ..or, every other daily, basis.  While Kim has used this time to learn letters, shapes and colors with her preschoolers; we are focusing on life skill,s as well. Either way, we are teaching our little ones that time is a valuable resource and that we should manage it well ..even when it seems to be in over-abundance at times!

This summer, we have worked on tying our shoes (5 year old) and fastening buttons (3 year old), properly doing chores, staying seated. some cutting skills (3 year old) and the stories of Elijah for Bible time.  It has been a worthy use of our resource of time.

Does this inspire ideas for Learning Time for your own little ones this summer?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Exactly What You Need

I have to admit, having some of you reading some of my older posts has been great for me. It is reminding me of some things that I have felt very passionate about in the past, and refreshing my resolve in some of those areas.

One thing that I have been reminded of, is how unfair being a christian woman of God is! :)  I dont say that in a whiny or feel sorry for us kinna way ...but its true.

To quote a past post.. Its not fair that I have to think about all of them before me, or that I cant even go potty without considering how it will effect them first.

Its not fair that I cant eat dinner, or even make a plate until all have been fed and filled.

Its not fair that I am responsible for cooking, cleaning, planning, budgeting, managing ...for all of them.

But, its my job. Its my purpose. And, its not about me. Its about God's big picture.

Thankfully, I have realized something even more comforting than that it is simply "my purpose".

I have also been very powerfully struck with how God has not only given us "everything we need..." but exactly what we need!  He not only promises that He will give us all we need to accomplish the tasks to which He has called us, but He then looks to each of us and provides us each with a unique set of resources, tools and equipment to do exactly that.

My "ah-ha" moment was when I was enjoying some visiting time with my girlfriends and one of them was cooing over my two-month old. She was about going crazy from her want of a newborn in her own life ...she has 4 children already. I was amazed with how much she was wanting that #5, since I feel like I am about to lose my mind most of the time with the three I have!

What I realized though, was that this sweet mama and her husband have been given a task. God has called this family to produce many children, and to raise them to love Him. You only have to be with them for a moment, before you see that God has equipped them thoroughly for that task.  Her passion for raising her children is obvious, and his love for his daddy-role is clear as day. They have been tasked, and equipped for it.

How about women who do things extraordinary in your own mind? The blogger, the writer, the speaker, the homeschooling mom, the working mom do they all do what they do with a degree of grace and positive influence?  Because God has equipped them for the task they have been called to!

What has God called YOU to, and also given you not only "everything" but 
"exactly" what you need

I know for me, that I can see what God has equipped me for because when I am doing that thing, I feel refreshed and not stressed. I feel at peace, and like I am where I need to be. Sometimes, that thing is something they may be overwhelming or stressful for someone else ...but I dont feel that way.

If you are a mom, you can be sure that God has called you that very important task raise your babies to know Him. If you are married, then you can be sure that you have been tasked to be a partner for that man and do your part to encourage him to heaven.  From there, we have beautifully diverse tasks in the Kingdom.

What perfectly peaceful thought that I have all that I need to accomplish the tasks which are mine :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Precious Promises

It is not secret that 2 Peter 1:3 is my current focus verse..I love the promises there. I have been reading the verses immediately afterward as well, and I am loving that the the promises keep coming!

 "3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 

 5For this very reason, (to participate in the divine nature and escape corruption) make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

 10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."   2 Peter 1:3-11 (NIV)

Very great and precious promises, indeed!

I looked at this same section of scripture in the New Living Translation as well ...

"By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises... 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

I know that I am not alone in that desire to feel like I have accomplished something at the end of the day, or when I feel like I am getting older. I desire to be productive and useful!  So much of my stress happens when I dont feel that way.  God must know me pretty well to know how that promise would comfort me :)

I am (almost) speechless with appreciation that God promises so clearly to provide us with the tools and resources that we need to accomplish what we need to receive a "a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."  vs. 11

It is because of that appreciation, that I want so much to make sure that I am using my "everything you need" as He intended it. I want to be productive and useful to Him! I want to receive a rich welcome!

Thank you, Kelly for giving me pause to consider my favorite passage of scripture! 

BTW ..I really do read and love other areas of scripture, you wouldnt know it lately but I do! :)

{Welcome ifellowshippers! ..I am so glad you hopped over!}

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tool Time: Stress Less Journal

This week's focus is on the Stress Less Journal ..a tool that I have developed for me that has helped me balance my resources...

DISCLAIMER: please ignore the poor quality of the video ...I tried to use my computer's webcam, and didnt realize until after a couple hours of work, and an hour and a half of uploading to youtube, that it was as dark as it was. I thought it was my tired eyes playing tricks on me! Lesson learned, next time I will use the camcorder! :)

About the SLJ ..I have written a post on this but really, it is too long and makes this simple concept a bit to complicated. So, I am gonna start over again! :)

The Stress Less Journal is something I use to help me balance my resources well does that by being a place where I can write down my stresses, my thoughts, my ideas, my prayers and my study. It gives me a place to put my many lists that help me clear my head of menu ideas, shopping lists, gift ideas, blogging thoughts, cleaning lists, etc. I have alot of dividers in mine, but that is because I love to have things ordered that way.

The SLJ is just a three-ring binder, with a set or two of dividers and some notebook paper. The dividers make it yours, so make sure to only use sections that will be helpful and not stressful to you.

Some of the dividers that I have ...

*My Stress List: we will talk more about this soon, but basically it is a place to jot down everything that is weighing on me, my husband and my children. For me, it is useful to help me see where I need to deploy my Stress Strategies!  ..something else we will talk about again soon!

*Menu List/Shopping List: a place for me to jot down recipes and stuff my family likes, I refer to this   when I need some inspiration for the menu

*Cleaning Lists:  straight off of Flylady ...reminders of what to clean in each room, if I ever get a chance to do some deep cleaning there!

*Blog Ideas:   I found a great blog calendar online yesterday, this would be a great place to put it!

*Routines:  having mine and the boys routines written down helps me to identify areas we need to make more time, or reorder our resource of time

*Contacts:  I use this tab alot! Its a place where I have my church directory and a printed sheet with all my and my husband's family listed with phone numbers and addresses. Also, our doctors, dentists and emergency numbers. This is in a page protector toward the back, so I can find it easily.

*Coupons: I also keep my page protectors with my weekly coupon inserts in the back of my binder. For me, it is less stressful to have fewer binders to deal with! :)

*Prayer/Study/Thoughts:  these are three separate tabs for me, and help me keep my spiritual mind focused as well as my life ordered. It is what it is all about, after all :)

Another obvious addition would be a calendar ..I use something different for my calendar now, but it may help you to add one for your SLJ!

If you want a more in depth (or, at least more wordy) version of all this, please go here.

Otherwise, keep it simple and let it work for you!

Some tips..I stole this from the wordier version:

  • clean it out frequently - all those little pages can add up. Throw away when you are done, dont let it build up. It adds weight, clutter and stress!
  • pay attention to sections you use, and ones you dont - it may surprise you which sections you dont use at all, get rid of them!
  • I keep my stamps, and some blank notes in the front pocket of my book so I can easily write a note to a friend if they come to mind while I am praying.
  • Keep a clear zipper pocket in the front of your book to keep pens, highlighter, white out pen, stamps, paper clips, etc.

Remember, if it causes you stress then it defeats the purpose!

Does this idea inspire or stress you out? Tell me, and share with all of us some other ideas for dividers you may have!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mom Based Business: Uppercase Living

Uppercase Living is one of my favorite home products EVER!

Uppercase Living is a company that makes vinyl wall expressions ..they rub on beautifully, and look like you painted these amazing thoughts on your walls, mirrors ..anywhere.

I have been in love with this product for a long time, and my house reflects it!

UL is our mom-based business of the week ...Our "mom" today is Michelle, who is a mom in terms of the fact that she keeps children of single moms at her home in Kansas City, Missouri. Her home is a thriving home base for moms and children alike who need love and ministering to,  as well as mothered by this lady with such a big heart! She sells Uppercase Living from her home, and is the supplier for my favorite decorating item!

I personally love our expressions because they are a very inexpensive way to quickly & easily 
dress up any space!! {says Michelle}

Michelle has given LPLS readers a chance to win $20 worth of credit towards an expression of your choice! 

Right now, $20 would go a long way because the UL expressions are BOGO! How great is that?!  That is ALL the expressions. The sale ends on July 12th, and you will want to take full advantage of it!

To enter, lets reflect on in how your home blesses you and your family! Please leave a comment with your blog as contact info OR, send your contact info through my Contact Me link...once you comment and enter, head over to Michelle's website so you can start thinking about what you will use your $20 on! We will draw NEXT TUESDAY!

Update:  I just have to share my great deal...I just spent just over $50 and got 5 beautiful expressions for my house! I love LOVE these,  and the monthly budgeted FUN money to do it with (thank you Dave Ramsey :)  I got three of the expressions for free, two for the BOGO deal and one because I spent $50. This was before tax and shipping, but because I love wall expressions, I can tell you that you cannot buy these at Target on clearance for much cheaper than $10 an expression!

a little tip: the Launch Pad

Getting out of the door for us is like trying to herd cats into the ocean! There are kids going everywhere, dogs barking, babies crying, mommy yelling, time passing is STRESSFUL!

And, not always safe ..let me tell you a story. This weekend we were all headed out the door for something or another. It was not well planned on my end, and I was harried trying to get everyone out the door. There was a timing miscommunication between hubby and I, and he sent the boys to the car to buckle up. As they were headed out the door to go obey, I explained that I still needed to feed the baby one last time before heading out.

We didnt get the message to the kids. The eldest figured out pretty quick we werent coming, so unbuckled and came back in the house. No one thought anything about it.

It wasnt until we were ready to head out again, that we discovered the three year old had been waiting in his car seat, buckled up and ready to go that whole time. You see, he can buckle but not unbuckle ..this is bad, because it is the middle of July in SC ...and the car was closed up, leaving my child cooking in the van in 120 degree weather!  I dont have to explain how I felt. He was flushed, sopping wet with sweat and a bit weepy. So.was.I.

There has to be a better way ...obviously such things wont always happen if you are running late out the door, but had we a better plan, that would not have happened.

 I know this is not an original idea, but it works for me. It is something that has helped in a major area of stress, especially since having my third little one two months ago...


For me,  planning is everything.  I have discovered that having a physical place where I can plan my route and my day out, really helps decrease the stress that is involved in getting out of the house.  I call it my Launch Pad! Combining this space with the Car Bucket makes for a great location to identify what is needed for everyone.

Timing is a big factor as well, when talking about the stress of getting out the door. I know, if I take the time the night before we have planned activities out of the house, I am most more relaxed with it comes time to leave. It helps the whole experience be less stressful for all involved!

Our "Launch Pad" is a shelf surface in our dining room, which is a central location between the kitchen (where the snacks and drinks are) and the rest of the house (where everything else is).  I put the Car Bucket there, as well as the kids outfits for the next day and anything else I need to make our morning run smoothly.  Today, I needed paperwork to drop off at the doctors office, dvd's to return, the kids clothes and shoes and the Car Bucket..truthfully, it was NOT all in one location but scattered all over the dining room. would have been better if it was!

Anyone else have any other "out the door" ideas to share? I know I can use them!
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